A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Malham Cove

Yesterday we got up early, picked up Connor and headed out for a walk in the bottom of the Yorkshire Dales with our friends Robert, Dawn and their son Cameron.  It was chucking it down with rain when we first arrived and since we weren't really dressed for roughing it, (me especially, I only had two warm up jackets on over a few layers, no rain gear at all... silly girl) we waited to see if the weather would change.  The dogs were raring to go regardless of the weather.  Luckily the weather turned within 20 minutes and despite high winds we decided to go for it. 

We had our picnic when we reached the mountain top (accessed by about 200 stairs cut into the side of the cliff). Dawn did us proud with her home made Texas Corn Bread and Fidgit Pie.  Andy didn't get his camera out until we were about half way through the walk but the pictures he did get were amazing;  I would do this breath-taking hike again in a heart-beat.

The boys, heading into the Gordale Scar:

Me & Dawn

Cameron, Connor, Me and Dawn

Gordale Scar (much more impressive in reality):

Connor under the lower falls; it was a major task to get that far believe it or not!

Taking a coffee break:

Me and Dawn:

And because I love this one so much,
Me and Dawn again (this was up by Gordale Scar):

Can't wait for the next hike!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Yesterday was again a fairly busy day at work; rather than being out front I was in one of the offices out back when my colleague walked in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a vase, full of fuchsia Gerbera’s (my absolute favourite) roses, carnations and greenery. She asked if there was a reason I might be getting a bunch of flowers. I thought about it and figured that they might be from my husband (most of you know what a brilliant giver of flowers my husband is). However I opened the card and read the words ‘Because you’re worth it’ signed from my boss (who happens to be a great friend as well). I almost made a fool of myself and cried (sadly, I’ve been turned into a bit of cry baby lately. Ok, ok... I lie, I’ve always been a bit of a cry baby when the situation calls for it.) Needless to say it’s been a tough few weeks and this made my week so much brighter

As I was looking at the flowers I looked down at my wrist to see the beautiful silver (and not in-expensive) bracelet from Links of London that was given to me last Friday by my very dear friend; she said it was because I’ve been such a supportive and true friend over the last few years that she wanted to treat me (she’s recently come into some money). I was floored by this complete and utter act of generosity and kindness on her behalf. Two gifts in less than a week… I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it but boy do I seem to have people fooled. I has however re-affirmed that I can’t be as bad as one young man is trying to make me out to be. Not that I need validation, not at all. I know that boy has had it good in my house (as does he, and w hen he stops being so pissed off and consumed with self pity, he might just remember… it’s not like we beat him every Tuesday and fed him raw liver and kidneys – we only did that for one year people ;)

I have been so lucky over the years to have met and been loved so many amazing people. Like my mother, I never had problems making friends, and most of them have stayed in my life over the years. I worried when I had to leave them all behind when I moved over here, but my worries were unfounded. I have retained my friendships from back home, and I have met even more friends since I’ve lived here… true friends, those that I can count on to be there when I need them, especially when I need a laugh or a big drink (real friends don’t let you drink alone.) Because I have no family of my own over here (Andy’s are great of course) some of my closest friends have filled that role. They too, know that I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they called. Give and take, that’s what relationships are meant to be. You know your friends are like family when you can turn up at their door at 1 am, dog in tow, manic and half-crazed and they don’t slam the door in fear of the nutter outside.

When I think about all the relationships I have formed over the last twenty years, and more recently the last seven, I can’t help but feel lucky. Some people only form one or two close friendships in their lifetime. I have surpassed this by the dozen. Seriously; and that’s not counting all the brilliant people I’ve met through cyberspace, who are out there supporting each other every day; often making us laugh with their amusing prose.

As previously mentioned, I can thank my mom for this because she has passed on so much to me, (not just my damn overbite). I’ve often been told how like my mom I am, how like the Antle girls (whom are now all well over 50 and also all blessed cursed with the same jaw) I am… not just in looks but in many other ways. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, even with the imperfect teeth and freckles.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Angry All The Time...

I’ve been away for awhile and have pretty much abandoned the 30 Day Challenge. I’m sorry for this as I was enjoying it, but life just has a habit of getting in the way of my fun. And life hasn’t been fun these last few weeks at Casa Del McAllenby, despite the fact that we are now the owners of a hot tub (the timing couldn’t have been better- what a great stress buster!)

Let me give you a summary of what’s been going on in my world:

An angry teenager and an fed up 44 year old man lashing out at each other; said angry teenager taking too many liberties and pushing it too far; maybe it’s his pride, more likely his anger but things have reached a point where going back and building bridges is going to take more work than any of us is willing to contemplate right now. At this stage I think the 2012 Olympic prep will be sorted before we all are.

All of the above has shown me that although ‘I’ve done my very best, and have always tried to be fair, it means jack shit at the end of the day. I’ve also realized that my mum and mum-in-law have been right all along… although children bring you much joy, the heartache they bring is tenfold; No breakup with a friend or man has ever caused me this much strife. You could kick my teeth out and it wouldn’t hurt as much. I’ve known a lot of teenagers in my time, hell I’ve been one, but I have never seen this kind before. And I’m done trying to reason, it’s exhausting. Both his dad and are just plain tired.  So the doors have been closed (by mutual agreement) and only time will tell what happens next. 

All of that craziness aside, work has been manic and Molly hasn’t been well; she came down with some skin ailment that had her scratching so much she had a bald patch. Luckily medication has seemingly rectified the situation.

I’ve managed to keep up with all of my favourite blogs though, even if I don’t always comment; it’s a welcome distraction to read about other families that aren’t full to the brim with dysfunction; and for those of you who have your various struggles, its often soothing to know we aren’t alone.

In terms of the gym, I have been doing ok although I’ve been avoiding the treadmill … however after the stunt aforementioned teen pulled yesterday, a run last night was just the therapy I needed. There’s nothing like a good dose of frustration to get me running on the treadmill after months of avoiding it.

I'm taking back my life today and I'm going to have some fun if it kills me.  I don't know if many of you know this, but in less than a month my only brother is coming to stay for awhile and that is what I'm going to focus on.  No more gloomy posts, I promise.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Followed Her Around

I hope Mom's and mother-figures all over America and Canada had a great Mother's Day on Sunday full of love, laughter and joy; I know for each of you it was different in your own way.

As most of you who follow me probably realize, Mother's Day in the UK was in April this year. 

After a lot of thought, I've finally decided to tell you how my Mother's Day went down.  It was 8:30 in the morning and Molly started growling, which is unusual so I got up to see who might be outside and saw two police officers about to knock on our door.

Immediately I knew it was going to be about Alex (even a step-mother can sense these things, especially when it hasn't been an easy year) and was immediately relieved to see his car parked on the drive;  he was at least home safe.  What was to follow was not going to leave me breathing so easily and would have me reaching for the wine by lunchtime - yes you read that correctly but in my defence I was at lunch with a friend.)  Alex hasn't done anything to get in trouble with the law, please don't think we are raising a delinquent.  Alex has been making some poor choices lately and one of them primarily involves a silly girl.  She is the one who sent the police to our house, and has made countless accusations against him to all their friends, and finally to the police. Because of her (and yes, his bad judgement with the ladies) I had a less than desirable Mother's Day.  I know I'm not Alex's natural mother, but hey... give me a break here.  I don't think anyone would want to wake up to the police at 8:30 am on Mothering Sunday. Breakfast in bed served with Buck's Fizz would have been much more preferable; hell, having my hair pulled out of my head strand by strand would have pained me less.  The first six month's of my life in this country was spent dealing with the police constantly knocking at my door due to Andy's ex making (proven) false allegations about him.  A period in our life that we would like to forget, not be reminded of. 

Andy's ex wasn't a mixed up teenage girl which probably makes it worse (depending on your perspective), and has certainly never apologised;  apologies aside, it is still not excusable behaviour to make up lies about a young man and try to ruin his reputation and everything he is working to achieve.  Alex has taken this girl back into his life, despite a number of other issues that should have him running a mile (however I won't talk about that due to his privacy) and he cannot understand why I'm so disappointed by it all and won't accept the girl in my life, never mind my home (which I had been doing, up until the week prior to Mother's Day, despite my concerns about her behaviour.) I thought our boy was so much smarter but as they say, love is blind.  I prefer moronic. 

I've told him to give me time, that if it works out between them and they make it through the next few months without any drama then I might start to see that she is changing and perhaps we can start from there.  But that is all I'm willing, or able to give and I don't think that is unfair.  He however is not in agreement. 

I normally try to stay away from posting about family issues, however as I keep saying to Alex, this isn't just about him anymore.  That changed the day his girlfriend sent the police to our home.  This page is mine to talk about the issues that I'm going through that I might want to get off my chest.  It's my form of therapy because as much as I'm tempted to, I can't always turn to wine; I would be constantly sloshed these days and what kind of example would that set?    I won't be pressured and manipulated into accepting someone who I am not ready to - and I won't hear talk about how I'm not being a mother to him because I won't immediately forgive and accept the girl he has chosen..  No way; one day when he has a child of his own, I'm sure he will see it differently.  Or perhaps he won't - he might be a very different kind of parent.  But I doubt it. Most of us thought our parents were full of crap when we were 18 years old.

However I always listened to one thing my mom said:  Do not waste your time wanting someone who doesn't want you, or doesn't respect you, because I am better than that.  My mom was right.  I did deserve better and I didn't settle for less. That at least, was one piece of mom's advice that managed to sink in.  I really hope that someday Alex feels the same way.

I read another blog regularly, written by a woman whose opinions I really respect and admire.  She has such a way with words and can combine wit and humour effortlessly when discussing something seriously.  JennyMac really nailed it when she talked about the relationship between parent and child on her Mother's Day post over at Let's Have a Cocktail; (Is it ironic how a number of us bloggers give reference to alcoholic beverages in our blog titles?) I will be curious to see how her writing changes as her pre-schooler grows into a teen...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day 27: A picture of where you're from.

Beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Day Twenty-Six: A Picture From One Of The Greatest Days Of Your Life

This photo was taken by one of my (many) dear friends just prior to 4 pm on a beautiful day.

I always thought I would elope but when I moved across the ocean I knew that the only way I wanted to marry Andy was surrounded by those pictured with me (and the 72 other family and friends not in the photo).  I love how Stacy's arm is in sync with mine, even though you can't really see her).  There were at least four more of my friends in the room at that particular time.  I loved that moment in my life and this unexpected photo Roisin took. 

I loved that day, even if it is stereotypical. 

Day 25: One of Your Most Prized Possessions

Sometimes I wonder if Andy and I were always meant to be together.  When he talks about life in his early 20's, a time when he was running a pub in Lincoln with hopes and dreams of working his way up to one day  actually owning his own pub, whilst discovering he had a baby on the way with his then partner, I often smile and think that we really were worlds apart.  While he was already living quite an experienced and adult life in England, I was still only a teenager living in Nova Scotia, trying to figure out what courses to take for my last year in school, babysitting for my family and the multitude of neighbourhood kids.  Oh, and of course I can't forget partying whenever I could (which probably contributed to my choosing the the incorrect courses - I should have taken general math but that is a whole other story for another day... or perhaps not, let's just say math and I were not friends and leave it at that.) 

So... let me get back on track:  I never would have thought our two worlds would collide and nearly 10 years on, that I would be here in England, married to this man who had such a different life than me.

Andy and I met in January of 2002 and became friends first before realizing we had a real attraction for each other. The story of how we got together isn't an easy one.  I don't think either one of us was looking for the great love of our lives.  I know I sure wasn't - I had just finished a long-term relationship and the thought of entering another was not top of my list of priorities.  Andy's timing certainly wasn't the greatest either but I guess fate had other ideas.  By that August we were both heavily immersed with each other and neither one of us was looking forward to the day in September when his contract was due to finish.  Andy took me out one day in late summer and bought me a beautiful sapphire ring.  It wasn't hugely expensive but he wanted to leave me with something that proved how much he cared about me and the time we had spent together.  I accepted the ring (rightly or wrongly) and told him that if he made the decision to never come back I would understand - long distance is hard, especially when there are children involved.  A few weeks later he rang me to tell me he wasn't ready to let it end and that he would be coming to see me as soon as possible.  I cried with a multitude of joy and fear for what the future would bring.

A few months later I was working out at the gym downtown and upon getting home (1/2 hour away) I discovered I had left my ring on a machine at the gym.  I was mortified at this and rang the gym immediately with absolutely no luck; it hadn't been turned in.  After talking to my friend who'd been working out with me, we decided to take a drive back in and look for it ourselves, just in case (without much hope.) Andy happened to call just before I left the house and I was in such a state he'd thought someone had died.  He laughed when I was able to relay what had happened and commented that it was just a ring, he could always get me another. That wasn't the point.  I wanted my ring... it meant too much to just dismiss.

My friend and I got into the city and practically ran through the shopping centre to the gym where the smiling girl behind the reception desk put me out of my misery straight away by producing the ring.  Someone had turned it in earlier, however she hadn't looked in the right place when I had called.  She'd found it when we were on the way in.  I could have kissed her through my tears of disbelief.

I still wear my sapphire on the ring finger of my left hand.  Although we were married two years later, I hardly ever wear my wedding ring as both of them together give me a rash.  I could wear it on my other hand but it's always been on my left hand and so I chose to keep it there.  My wedding ring is important to me, but the sapphire means so much more.  My husband understands this completely and is ok with the fact that I chose to wear it over the wedding ring (which I do wear on vacations and special occasions).  I love him for this... for the fact that he gets me and the reasons why I make some of the choices I do (well most of the time ;) 

I have another possession that means the world to me, but one story is enough :)